How to Install Roof Rack on Car? Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re looking to add a roof rack to your car, there are a few things you’ll need to take into account. First, you’ll need to decide what type of roof rack system you want. There are three basic types: permanent racks that are mounted directly to the roof, semi-permanent racks that use clamps or straps to attach to the vehicle, and temporary racks that can be removed when not in use.

Key Takeaways

  • First, you need to find the right roof rack for your car.
  • There are many different types and sizes of roof racks, so make sure to choose one that will fit your car correctly.
  • Once you have the correct roof rack, take it out of the box and follow the instructions for assembly.
  • This usually involves attaching the feet of the rack to your car’s roof rails.
  • After the rack is assembled, place it on top of your car’s roof and secure it in place using the straps or clamps that came with it.
  • Make sure everything is tight and secure before driving off.
  • That’s it! You’re now ready to load up your roof rack with all kinds of gear for your next adventure.

Once you’ve decided on the type of system, you’ll need to choose the right size and style for your car. Most roof racks are made specifically for certain types of vehicles, so it’s important to get one that will fit your car correctly. Finally, you’ll need to install the system according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

This usually involves attaching brackets or rails to the roof of your vehicle and then attaching the rack itself. With a little bit of effort, you can easily add a roof rack to your car and make it more versatile and practical.

Universal Rooftop Roof Rack Crossbar Installation Guide

How Do I Install a Roof Rack on My Car?

Assuming you would like tips on installing a roof rack: Most roof racks come with instructions, and it is important to follow these as closely as possible. In general, however, the process is as follows:

1. Choose the appropriate crossbars for your car. Make sure they fit the width of your vehicle’s roof and that they are compatible with the specific type of rack you have chosen.

2. Attach the feet or towers of the rack to the crossbars, again following the manufacturer’s instructions. These will be what actually hold the rack onto your car.

3. If necessary, add additional components to the rack such as bike trays or ski holders. Once again, make sure everything is installed correctly according to the instructions.

4. Load up your gear onto the rack and hit the road!

Here’s a Step-by-Step Guide:

Install Roof Rack on Car 4

1. Start by reading the instructions that came with your roof rack. This will give you an idea of what parts you’ll need and how the rack needs to be installed.

2. Next, use a tape measure to determine where the rack needs to be mounted on your car. Once you have the measurements, mark the location with a pencil or chalk so you know where to drill holes for the mounting brackets.

3. Drill pilot holes into the marked locations, then use these holes to screw in the mounting brackets (again, following the instructions that came with your rack).

4. With the brackets in place, it’s time to attach the crossbars. Most racks come with two bars, which should be placed parallel to each other across the width of your car’s roof (again, consult your instruction manual). The crossbars typically have clamps on each end which allow them to be attached securely to the brackets – just make sure they’re tight enough so they don’t move around while driving!

5. And that’s it! Your roof rack is now installed and ready for use. Just remember to always double-check that everything is secure before heading out on any road trip adventures!

What are the Benefits of Having a Roof Rack?

A roof rack is a system designed to provide easy access to cargo on the roof of a vehicle. They are also known as luggage racks or carriers. Roof racks can be installed on virtually any type of vehicle, including cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs.

Many people find them useful for carrying sports equipment, camping gear, luggage, and other types of cargo. There are many benefits of having a roof rack. One benefit is that they make it easy to transport large or bulky items that might not fit inside the vehicle.

Another benefit is that they keep your belongings safe and secure while you’re driving. Additionally, roof racks can free up space inside the vehicle so you can pack more efficiently. And finally, they can give you more peace of mind knowing that your belongings are safely secured while you’re on the road.

Do I Need Any Special Tools to Install a Roof Rack?

No, you don’t need any special tools to install a roof rack. However, you will need some basic tools like a drill, screwdriver, and measuring tape. You’ll also need to purchase the correct size and type of rack for your car.

Make sure to follow the instructions carefully when installing the rack.

Can I Damage My Car by Installing a Roof Rack?

Yes, you can damage your car by installing a roof rack. If not installed properly, the roof rack can rub against the paint and cause scratches or even gouges. In extreme cases, the roof rack can come loose and fall off, causing serious damage to your vehicle.

How Do I Know If My Car is Compatible With a Roof Rack?

Most vehicles nowadays are compatible with roof racks, but there are still a few exceptions. If you’re unsure whether or not your car is compatible with a roof rack, the best way to find out is by consulting your vehicle’s owner manual. In the manual, look for a section on “roof racks” or “external luggage carriers.”

This section will list any specific requirements or restrictions for attaching a roof rack to your particular vehicle model. Another way to determine if your car is compatible with a roof rack is to simply measure the width of your car’s door frame.

Most roof racks are designed to fit within a standard door frame width, so if your car’s door frame is wider than average, it’s likely that you’ll have no problem attaching a roof rack.

However, if your car’s door frame is narrower than average, you may need to purchase an adapter in order to attach a roof rack.

If you’re still unsure about compatibility, the best way to find out for sure is by taking your car and some potential roof racks down to your local auto parts store or dealership and asking them for help. The staff at these locations should be able to tell you definitively whether or not any given roof rack will work with your car.


A roof rack can be a great addition to any car. It allows you to carry more gear with you on your travels, and it can also free up space inside your vehicle. But before you can start using your new roof rack, you’ll need to install it properly.

Best Seller List of Roof Racks:

SaleBestseller No. 1
948 Reviews
7BLACKSMITHS Black Roof Rack Cargo Basket Carrier Rack with 64" x 39" x 6'' Universal Extension Car...
  • Heavy-Duty Construction: Bottom metal bars and side rails help keeping your belongings in place while providing plenty of tie down points.
  • Powder Coated Finish: Black powder coated finish, Steel wind fairing is included to reducing wind resistance & noise.
  • 250LBS Capacity: Free up space in your vehicle with a roof rack cargo basket that safely and securely holds up to 250 lbs of cargo, gear and equipment. NOTE: In order to avoid the rusting issue,using silicone sealant on the joint and welds in the assembly process is a valid measures. Please remove the luggage rack before washing the car automatically.
  • Adjustable Fit: Easy assembly and adjustable mounting to most round, square, aero and factory installed crossbars on a variety of cars, trucks, SUVs, vans and other large vehicles using U-bolts. Suitable for all models, such as SUV, BMW, Jeep Cherokee, Honda, Pioneer, GMC Jimmy, Subaru Ober, etc.
  • Specification: Color: Black; Finish: Power Coated; Material: Steel; Weight Capacity: 250LBS; Wind Fairing Dimension: 33.5" x 7"; Bolt Spacing: 1-7/8" x 3 3/4"; Overall Dimensions w/No Extension: 43"(L) x 38"(W) x 4"(H); Overall Dimension w/ Extension: 67"(L) x 38"(W) x 4"(H).
Bestseller No. 2
9,695 Reviews
MaxxHaul 70115 46" x 36" x 4-1/2" Roof Rack Rooftop Cargo Carrier Steel Basket, Car Top Luggage...
  • Instant cargo space for vehicle with cross bars; Basket size - 46" x 36" x 4-1/2"
  • Easy to assemble and install (assembly and mounting hardware are included)
  • Attaches to most cross bars with easy to use u-bolts for simple installation
  • Includes rubber caps to cover the U-bolts and protect the cargo
  • Powder coat finish
SaleBestseller No. 3
272 Reviews
MAXXHAUL 50506 64" x 39" x 6" Heavy-Duty Universal Steel Roof Rack , Black
  • Ideal for hauling numerous cargo bags, camping equipment, luggage, furniture, and more.
  • Our Roof Rack is made from heavy duty steel with black powder coat finish to prevent rust and corrosion. However, we highly recommend that you park your vehicle indoors and use Truck Bed Liner Paint to make the entire rack rust proof
  • 4 section construction makes assembling and disassembling the roof rack easy and allows it to be compactly packaged and carried.
  • Built with a weight capacity of 150 lbs., enabling transport of heavy cargo.
  • Has an overall outside dimension of 64" x 39" x 6" and overall inside dimension of 59" x 37" x 5", allowing you to load more items than usual.
Bestseller No. 4
1,557 Reviews
MPH Production 48" (120cm) Universal Fit Black Adjustable Aluminum Window Frame Roof Rack Cross Bars...
  • Fitment: Universal Fit For Most 4-Door Models Vehicles ( Cars, SUVs, Trucks, etc ) with Naked Roof (**IMPORTANT NOTE: Will not fit vehicles with any types of actual side rails, like integrated side rails, raised side rails)
  • Design: Window-Frame-Type Aluminum Roof Rack Cross Bars With Mounts & Locks ( Comes With 3 Different Sizes Of Mounts To Fit For Your Car Models )
  • Rail: 48" In Length. Adjustable Distance: 52" Maximum In Length
  • Color: Black
  • High Quality Removable Roof Rack Cross Bars made of light-weight Aluminum. Durable Tube Construction with Hold Up To a 150lb Capacity. They Attach To Side Window Frames To Transport Luggage, Ladders, or any other cargo
Bestseller No. 5
385 Reviews
BrightLines Aero Roof Rack Cross Bars Compatible with Toyota RAV4 2013-2018
  • Customized design for Toyota RAV4 equipped with roof side rails.
  • Aero wing shape, literally reducing wind noise to zero.
  • High clearance to roof top, suitable for all kinds of accessories.
  • Total Load Capacity 150lbs when evenly distributed.
  • Easy installation. Package comes with a pair of crossbars and all tools and hardware
Bestseller No. 6
723 Reviews
WEIZE 54" x 34" Heavy Duty Roof Rack, Rooftop Cargo Carrier Basket with Waterproof Bag, Tie Down...
  • EXTRA STORAGE CAPACITY - Get an extra roomy 10 or 13 square ft. of space on top of your vehicle with this roof-mounted cargo carrier! WEIZE roof rack can be used to adjust it from 35x34x6” to 54x34x6” to fit different cars.
  • ULTRA-DURABLE - The rooftop cargo carrier is constructed from tubular steel which is lightweight but high in strength, it can haul up to 150 lbs of cargo, gear, and equipment. It features sleek fairing that helps to minimize drag and noise, the powder coat is also rust and corrosion-resistant, BUT it is still recommended to park your car indoors and use TRUCK BEDLINER PAINT to make the entire rack rustproof.
  • EASY ASSEMBLY - The welded frame comes in four sections, easily mounting onto most roof-rack crossbars with 4 U-bolts and other universal necessary mounting hardware, please contact us for free replacement if the components are missing or defective.
  • USEFUL ATTACHED TOOLS - The SUV roof rack is equipped with 2pcs 12ft 2200lbs tie-down straps and 1pcs 36"x48" cargo net to provide more strength and protection when stretched over larger cargo items such as tents, luggage, storage boxes, and more.
  • WARRANTY - WEIZE car roof basket aims for quality followed up with quality customer service directly provided by the manufacturer. A satisfied solution will be given for ANY of your problems. Our support team is on standby for YOU.
Bestseller No. 7
3,616 Reviews
ARKSEN 64 x 39 Inch Universal 150LB Heavy Duty Roof Rack Cargo with Extension Car Top Luggage Holder...
  • [LARGE STORAGE CAPACITY] Free up space in your vehicle with this roof rack cargo basket that can hold up to 150 lbs. Overall dimensions include: 64"(L) x 39"(W) x 6"(H).
  • [RIGID CONSTRUCTION] Heavy-duty steel construction with black powder coating resists weather elements and corrosion, offering several years of long-lasting use.
  • [EXTRA SECURITY] Bottom metal bars and side rails keep your items secure during traveling. Features a steel wind fairing to protect cargo from wind damage and reduce wind resistance.
  • [EASY INSTALLATION] Easy to install on most vehicles. This cargo carrier utilizes your car's crossbars, easily mounting with four universal U-bolts.
  • [VERSTAILE CARGO BASKET] Suitable for carrying camping supplies, firewood, luggage, hunting and fishing gear, and more during camping, road trips, or when moving.
Bestseller No. 8
2,412 Reviews
SEAH HARDWARE Universal Roof Rack Cross-Bars for Car, 2 PC.
  • The straps go through the door frames, and attach the rack on top of the roof, it fits almost all four door car without side rails, it fit four door car with side rails which height is less than 6.4 cm from roof, because the distance from car roof to bottom of bar is 6.5 cm. It can not be installed on two door car, because there is too small room between the two bars in two door cars.
  • Comes with a pair of crossbars 48". Heavy duty steel tube make it strong and safe. 4 PC 1/4" x 2" screw and 4 PC 1/4" lock nut.
  • Crossbars are adjustable in position. Install in minutes and disassemble in seconds.
  • With water proof ratchet tie down.
  • DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN!* 1800 lbs ratchet tie down ensures the roof bar will remain firmly on your car top. Whether it’s a kayak, mountain bike, or ladder, these cross bars will get your favorite things to anywhere.
SaleBestseller No. 9
44 Reviews
KAIRAY Roof Rack Cargo Basket 58"(L) x 36"(W) x 5.1"(H) Extendable Universal Rooftop Luggage Carrier...
  • PREMIUM MATERIAL: The roof rack is a heavy-duty full welding point steel construction with a durable black powder coating, has long-lasting corrosion resistance.The upgraded pipe diameter of the roof basket is thickened, and there is no gap after splicing.
  • EXTRA LARGE SIZE & CAPACITY: The roof rack carrier is extendable from 44" to 58" in length.Overall Dimension : 58"(L) x 36"(W) x 5.1"(H); the size without extension: 44"(L) x 36"(W) x 5.1"(H).The roof rack basket can safely and reliably load up to 200Lbs of cargo.
  • EASY ASSEMBLY & ADJUSTABLE: The car roof rack can be disassembled into 3 sections, easy to assemble and install on your vehicles cross bars and side rails, mounting with four universal U-shaped steel plate.
  • WIND FAIRING: Roof rack cargo carrier features a wind shield that helps protect cargo from wind damage and keeps the vehicle more aerodynamic.
  • PACKAGE INCLUDED: Roof Cargo Rack x 1, Cargo Net x 1, Waterproof Cargo Bag with Storage Bag x 1, Ratchet Straps x 2 PACK, Outdoor Combination Lock x 1
Bestseller No. 10
4 Reviews
SEBLAFF 2PCS Top Luggage Roof Rack Cross Bar Carrier Universal Aluminum Adjustable Replacement for...
  • For universal purpose vehicles, replacement for 43.3 inch.
  • Made of high-quality aluminum and plastic, the construction is sturdy.
  • Precisely engineered, lightweight yet capable of carrying heavy loads.
  • The roof rack bars are locked to ensure safety during use.
  • The installation process is simple and requires no special operations or drilling.
Rate this post

Last Update : 2023-06-10

Meet the Author

Adolfo VonRueden is an experienced automotive professional specializing in car roof boxes, roof racks, and rooftop carriers. Learn how Adolfo got his start as expert in rooftop carriers, and why he decided to start this car roof box blog. If you want to send Adolfo a quick message, then visit his contact page here.